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SEVILLE 2018 Special Screenings

Almudena Carracedo, Esther García • Director and producer of The Silence of Others

"I hope this film will stir people’s consciences and help to stimulate dialogue"

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- We spoke to co-director Almudena Carracedo and producer Esther García, two of the most important people behind The Silence of Others, which has been nominated for Best Documentary at the EFAs

Almudena Carracedo, Esther García  • Director and producer of The Silence of Others
(© Concha de la Rosa/SEFF)

One week ahead of its release in Spanish theatres, it was announced here, in Seville, that The Silence of Others [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Almudena Carracedo, Esther …
film profile
]
 by Madrilenian filmmaker Almudena Carracedo and US director Robert Bahar – who previously teamed up to make Made in L.A. – had secured a nomination for the EFA for Best European Documentary. On this occasion, they were backed by El Deseo, the company owned by brothers Agustín and Pedro Almodóvar, which they run together with Esther García, a recent winner of the Spanish National Film Award. We chatted to Carracedo and García minutes before the movie’s special screening at the 15th Seville European Film Festival.

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Cineuropa: How are you feeling after being nominated?
Esther García:
 It’s an immense recognition of our years-long work, so that’s exciting. But also, given that the documentary is screening here with a very long international festival run already behind it, which began at the Berlinale last February, we have received a lot of support from international academics, and now we hope that Spanish people will get behind The Silence of Others, too. 

So are you aiming for the Goya Awards next?
Almudena Carracedo:
 We’re really fighting for it. When we won the Emmy with the last film, I thought that was really going to benefit the movie and encourage many other people to see it because it had won the prize, besides the appeal of the film’s message.
EG
: That is the main objective of documentary: dialogue, which only happens if it’s seen by people, institutions and universities... This whole movement around dialogue is what we need right now.

When the project began, you were one of the first people to examine the history of Spain with the intention of cleansing the past.
AC
: Since we premiered it at Berlin, there’s been a shift in Spanish society: it’s progressing, and that’s the important thing. Seven years ago, when we began working on the project, they thought we were crazy, but now people tell us that they want to know more, as they come out of the cinema incensed and want to find out the truth. Film is another tool that can spark this very necessary conversation that has been left unaddressed for too long.
EG
: The children of the victims of the Franco regime are still alive today, but they are very old. The hectic nature of our lives nowadays can cause this to take a back seat, and that wouldn’t be fair. This is the right time for dialogue, and we must wait no longer. I hope this film will stir people’s consciences.

This is one of the few El Deseo-produced documentaries that will be released in movie theatres...
EG
: Yes, we’ve produced various docs, but virtually all of them were for TV. We released Los sin tierra by Miguel Barros, and Barefoot in the Kitchen [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 and Men Got Guts [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 by Diego Galán. We also staged José e Pilar [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 by Miguel Gonçalves Mendes, about José Saramago, which represented Portugal at the Oscars. Regrettably, financial success is almost non-existent with documentaries, but we will keep persisting with the genre because we believe it’s an essential way to tell a story, and it allows for absolute freedom, creativity and diversity.
AC
: A documentary stirs consciences in a very powerful way because the people who see it realise that they could also be in it, telling their stories.

The subject of the post-war period and its victims has been of concern to El Deseo for some time, as Pedro Almodóvar had a project about this...
EG
: We bought the rights to a novel by Marcos Ana. Pedro was developing a project about Ana’s release from prison, but it wasn’t moving forward. He is well aware of and realises the victims’ pain, and the pressing need for this documentary that we are supporting with all our might.

At El Deseo, how do you choose a project that you will then produce?
EG
: What usually happens is that Agustín and I work on it first, and then we get Pedro involved later because he has to focus on other creative tasks. Almudena and Robert showed us the movie in the middle of the editing stage, and we saw how necessary it was. They thought that joining forces with people with more clout would really help them: they showed us the scenes they had, we talked to see how much common ground we had, and then we got Pedro on board. 

Will El Deseo continue producing both fiction and non-fiction, as it has done so far, and on both sides of the Atlantic?
EG
: Yes, of course, but the most difficult thing is finding the talent because not everything that comes to us is as important as this documentary or as unique as the point of view you see in El Ángel [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. Unfortunately, there is not so much talent, but we are always on the lookout for it.

(Translated from Spanish)

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